I am surprised I even remembered my old password, it has been so long since I posted here. Thanks to the time change, I am up early this morning with nothing to do.
First and foremost, get it flipped to 570 WMCA! That's the answer. If they can't hear you, you won't be noticed.
Very true, and something I suggested on my first day on the job. The truth is WMCA is highly successful, makes the company money, and we have a commitment to the religious broadcasters who have bought time on the station and developed their audiences on AM 570. It would be unfair to them to force them to move to a new frequency. So I asked, and the answer was no. I learned a long time ago to worry about what you can control, and forget the rest. The AM 970 frequency is what it is. There are some things we can do to make sure we are getting the most out of the 5,000 watt night signal, and I am working on that. The daytime signal is 50,000 watts and reaches over 15,000,000 people. I can't program to those who can't hear it, but I can do better with the ones who can, and it is still a significant reach. I moved Curtis Sliwa to 7am to 10am specifically because the 3 hours are within the 50,000 watt power hours. Running him at 5am did not make sense to me. Now, if advertisers buy Curtis in the morning, they are guaranteed of getting his show during maximum power.
There probably is not one big thing I can do to make WNYM better, but there are 100 little things I can do to make it better and these moves are some of those 100 little things.
If it were not for WNYM's puny signal -- which stops just short of the Gold Coast of Connecticut (an important sales opportunity -- ask WCBS) -- you'd have the potential to shake up news/talk in the tri-state region in a big way. If you can accomplish it on 970 you're a magician. But I do wish you luck!
Thanks for that. The good news for my career is that I do not need to shake up news/talk in a big way. As I mentioned before, I do not need to beat WABC or WOR to succeed, we just need to beat ourselves. When I was at WABC I used to say that if I ever hit a 5 share I would be in hero country (and I finally did that). But that meant 95% of the radio audience was not listening to us. At WNYM the stakes to be in hero country are a lot lower. I just need to be a little better than where we are. I think I can do that.
To Jeff in Sa-ra-so-ta, thanks for the kind words. WABC was a magical place at a magical time. I feel so fortunate to have spent 14 years there. When I had to fire Bob Grant in 1996 I literally lost half my audience overnight, going from a 4 something to a 2 something. It took me 5 years to build to back to the 4 something and become the most listened to newstalk station in the nation. During my 13 PPM monthlies before I left WABC I never lost to another AM radio station, and was #3 overall in NYC the day I walked out the door, so I am proud of what we were able to do. It is a painful thing to watch WABC be slowly dismantled. But I still have many friends working there and I get no joy out of watching them decline. I am also proud of the fact that after 11 years I was able to hire Bob Grant back. In Detroit, after they fired Ernie Harwell before my arrival, I had the opportunity to hire him back as the voice of the Tigers. Both are amazing stories and I am glad I was there for both.
Somebody posted here that it is futile to attempt to be "young and hip" when you are on the AM band because nobody young and hip listens to the AM band. I am well aware of those limitations, with 80% of the 25-54's on the FM band today and few of them go over to the AM side. But I have always been an AM guy and I refuse to give up on it. I think in 5-10 years, the band will be irrelevant. We have to get ourselves out of thinking we are AM Radio people. We are broadcasters and need to get our product out there where people can find it...no matter the transmission method. Just because not many young and hip people listen to AM is no reason to be "old and stodgy" and not sound as good as you can sound.
People may forget that I was the PD that put 1050 ESPN on the air in 2001, with 21 days notice. We went on the air the day before 911, the same day we took Hannity into national syndication. Many of the people I hired are still there, and are doing fine. I am so fortunate to be able to say I have now programmed 5 stations in top 10 markets: WABC, ESPN 1050, WNYM, WMCA, and a long time before that: WJR Detroit.
I am very fortunate to have landed with Salem Communications. I have been given the reins of not only these two AM's in NYC but also the 24 newstalk stations around the country, the 40 Christian Talk and Teach stations, and the 11 Business Talk stations Salem now owns. All of the stations could do better from a ratings perspective, and I am looking forward to taking what skills I may have to make them all better. I am having a blast doing it.